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US soldier was arrested in Russia last week –

By Natasha Bertrand and Oren Liebermann, CNN

(CNN) — A US soldier was arrested in Russia last week on suspicion of theft and is currently in pre-trial detention, two US officials said.

The soldier, a sergeant, was arrested by Russian authorities on May 2, officials said. He was stationed in South Korea and traveled to Russia of his own accord, they said.

An army spokesman confirmed Monday that the soldier was being held by Russian authorities in Vladivostok “on charges of criminal misconduct.”

“The Russian Federation has notified the U.S. Department of State of the criminal detention in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations,” spokesperson Cynthia Smith said. “The military has notified his family and the U.S. Department of State is providing appropriate consular support to the soldier in Russia. Given the sensitivity of this matter, we cannot provide further details at this time.”

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow is requesting consular access to the soldier and has informed his family of his detention, the officials said.

A number of Americans are being held in Russia, including two declared unlawfully detained by the US State Department: Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and former Marine Paul Whelan.

Last July, another soldier stationed in South Korea voluntarily crossed into North Korea, where he was immediately detained. Pvt. Travis King had been on a border tour through a civilian area when he ran through the Joint Security Area (JSA) into North Korea.

King is said to have boarded a flight back to the United States to undergo disciplinary proceedings. But after army escorts released him at a security checkpoint at Incheon International Airport near Seoul, King left the airport on his own.

It took weeks of secret and intense diplomacy involving multiple countries to secure King’s release in September. In October he was charged with desertion.

CNN’s Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.

This story is current and will be updated.

The CNN Wire
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